In the spotlight: Youth Foyer Mentoring Program
December 5 2017
On any given night more than 6,000 young people in Victoria are experiencing homelessness. Of this number, more than 50 percent are not involved in education or employment. To help address this issue, Launch Housing, in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, opened two Education First Youth Foyers – Holmesglen Foyer, based at Holmesglen Institute’s Waverley campus, and Kangan Foyer, based at the Kangan Institute, Broadmeadows. Funded by the State Government of Victoria, the Foyers are the first of their kind in Victoria.
By providing and combining affordable accommodation, education, training and employment, Education First Youth Foyers help young people break the cycle of homelessness, create opportunities, and lead independent and fulfilling lives.
Since 2014, Launch Housing and the Brotherhood of St Laurence have been running a Youth Foyers Mentoring Program across both Education First Youth Foyers. We chatted to HuntRX, a 19 year old living at the Broadmeadows Foyer and Francesco, his volunteer mentor, about their experiences with the program.
“I’ve lived at the Foyer for about a year now and have been a part of the mentoring program for a few months. I moved into the Foyer because when my family moved to Queensland last year, I wanted to stay in Melbourne and study but had nowhere to live.
I got involved with the mentoring program because it sounded like an interesting experience. I’m a very curious person so I thought I’d try it.
I first met Francesco at the mentoring training we went to. I got chatting to him and he worked in an area I’m interested in pursuing as a career (the financial markets), so when the staff at the Foyer asked if I had a preference for a mentor, I asked for Francesco.
At the moment I’m studying community services, but I have lots of ideas about what kind of job I’d like to have. As well as the financial industry, I’d like to work with vulnerable children and adults and I’d also like to open a restaurant.
That’s something that Francesco has really helped me with. I have so many ideas and things I’d like to try. He’s really helped me organise my plans, work out a goal and what I need to do to achieve it. He’s also helped me apply for jobs, and look for volunteer work.
We meet up once or twice a month, and also text and chat over the phone. We don’t always talk about mentoring, but also about our lives in general.
Right now I’m focussed on my studies, which finish in December. After that I’d like to get a job.
If I had to sum up the Youth Foyers Mentoring Program in three words, I’d say ‘a great experience’. It’s been great to have someone there for me when I need it. Francesco is very smart and I have learnt a lot from him.”
“When I first heard about the Youth Foyers Mentoring Program, I was keen to volunteer as a mentor. My career has largely been focussed on professional mentoring, so I had very transferrable skills but wanted to use them in a different way. I find it very satisfying being able to help someone at a time in their lives when they need some extra support and guidance.
HuntRX and I have been meeting up or catching up on the phone every few weeks since the training sessions in Autumn this year. Sometimes we go to cinema, or we meet for coffee or lunch in a café. We live in the same area so we bump into each other from time to time too. Because I’m Italian, HuntRX wants me to cook him a meal so I’m going to save that until he finishes his course so we can celebrate together.
When we first started meeting up, I asked HuntRX what he wanted to get out of the mentoring program. He has a lot of different ideas about what he wants to do as a career and wanted to focus on deciding what to do and how to do it. I’m basically a sounding board for HuntRX’s ideas and we work together to prioritise his goals and work out a structured plan for how to achieve them.
If I had to sum up my experience in three words, I would say ‘rewarding’, ‘exciting to see HuntRX develop’ and ‘a great learning experience’, which I know is more than three words! I would also say that I have learnt a lot as well as hopefully imparted knowledge too.
I’m really enjoying my time as a mentor. HuntRX is a lovely guy and very committed which has been really rewarding for me. I can already see a difference in HuntRX, and our relationship has grown and evolved over time and that’s been a real pleasure.”
We’re always looking for new volunteer mentors. You don’t need a specific set of skills, just a willingness to take part and a commitment to the program. If you would like to find out more about how you could become a mentor, please contact:
Relationships Coordinator – Education First Foyer Broadmeadows
Education First Youth Foyer at Kangan
30 Cavendish Street | Broadmeadows VIC 3047
T 03 9309 3946 | F 03 9309 9254 | M 0452 489 509
Relationships Coordinator – Education First Foyer Glen Waverley
Education First Youth Foyer at Holmesglen
629 Waverley Road | Glen Waverley VIC 3150
T 03 9564 6488 (Mon-Wed) | F 03 9564 6489 | M 0429 399 428